Postcard From Montreal — An Interview With Max Wasungu

📝 Interview by Adam Abada
📷 Photos by Gabriel Barbeau

Fresh off his Baker debut in their latest, and a surprise appearance in the Marseille boys’ Canada trip video, Team Horton’s, we caught up with QS-favorite, Max Wasungu, to talk Montreal, Dime, jewelry, and what exactly does a sponsor expect from a skater in 2024.


First and foremost, you’re a young man: how did you begin skating?

I started skating because of my brother. He was skating and had a board, but kind of stopped. I took his board and started skating a little. I got my friend Lion to skate with me, so we learned together. We still skate together now; he films now. Lion and I were just filming for the new Dime video so it’s full circle. We’re still doing this shit. That’s pretty cool.

Was your brother’s board legit?

I don’t remember what that first board was. I remember that when my parents realized I fucked with skating, we went to the skateshop and bought this Speed Demon complete, which was my first board ever. It had foam grip on it. It wasn’t even real grip. I was probably six.

Oh, you were young.

Yeah, I was really young. My brother was teaching me how to ollie and shit back then because he knew that stuff. I just turned 20 last September.

How old was your brother?

He’s four years older than me, so he was 10 at that time.

What parts of skateboarding were you aware of back then? What was Montreal like?

When I just started, all I knew about skating was Baker. At the shop, I thought the Baker graphics were kind of fried and cool. I wasn’t watching skate videos and didn’t know anything. I remember watching the Baker videos and Cliché’s Bon Voyage.

What made you want to stay skateboarding at that young age?

Building stuff was really fun for us. At my house and Lion’s place, we would build ramps and cruise around the city, and it was our way to transport ourselves. Because my brother and his friends were skating and they were older, we just thought it was really cool, mainly. Also, learning tricks was cool. We liked that.

My family was playing tennis, so I played tennis a bit. And I played hockey because that’s big in Canada. But skating was the thing I really fucked with the most. My parents were so chill about it. Lion and I were bringing these huge ramps in the driveway and shit, and they were so down to help us do it and bring us to indoor skateparks in the winter when we couldn’t skate. In high school days, they’d take me to Spin skatepark — it’s the only park here. They were always really supportive of what we were doing.

Those parks are necessary up there for the weather, no? What is your experience like with winter in Montreal?

Honestly, it wasn’t too bad growing up. Everyone here skis and snowboards because there’s so much snow, so you kind of switch to that in the winter. It’s sick because if you want to do snowboarding in the street, you can hit rails here. And they kind of merge together because you can do snowboarding that translates to skating.

Do you ski?

I used to ski for a big part of my life, but then I switched to snowboarding recently. It’s definitely more like skating, I guess. Both skiing and snowboarding are really sick, though. The classic thing is to start skiing and then start snowboarding after you start skating. Skiing is sick; I don’t really have a preference.

How serious is skating for you right now as a 20-year-old? You were on that Thrasher Am Scramble trip. What’s the future like?

I’m thinking about it for sure. It’s mostly my job right now. It’s the only thing that I do for a living, so it’s pretty serious, I guess. I still gotta make bread some kind of way. But it’s also still my passion. I do it because I really like it and I want to keep it that way for as long as possible. I don’t know how to say it, but I guess I just have to keep skating and keep motivated.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t have any video parts, right?

That’s real. That’s a thing. I’ve never really filmed a video part. It all happened really quickly with Dime. They put me on the team right away, and I had never filmed a part – it was from Instagram and shit like that. I’ve felt weird about it sometimes. Why do these companies want me on the team since I’ve never really filmed anything “solid,” you know? It’s all social media. There was a period of time when I got on some companies and was only filming with a phone. I would have liked to have filmed some more real footage then and dropped a video part. I’m doing it right now with my friends, though. We’re dropping a video, the new Baker video is dropping, and I have a couple things in there. I filmed a few things throughout the last year or two, so I’m stoked on that.

Max in Baker Has A Deathwish 2

With skateboarding being your job, what are your professional obligations like?

It depends on the brand. Mostly, it’s showing up to events. Also, you do have to film for social media things. They’ll ask you, seemingly at random, about something they need. Usually it’s for a montage they are making that’s coming out in a week and they want some footage of you. Especially if there’s a drop for something. You’ll go film in the gear. It’s really quick, marketable stuff. It seems like a new strategy.

There used to be more of a specific demo/tour schedule and the rest of the time you’re filming clips and taking photos for ads. Where do you feel you and your peers fit in as “professionals [people who skate for their primary income, not necessarily skaters with pro boards]?”

It’s a mix of the two ways a little bit right now, I think. Not only social media skating, and not only parts. There can be an in-between. I love filming for fun with my phone and everything – there’s less pressure – but filming for a big project that you’ve been working towards makes you feel really proud at the end. It’s like an album. It’s way more work than a week of filming with a phone. You’ve been working for it and when it releases, you’re proud of it. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s way cooler to drop a part, that’s for sure.

How does that translate into the type of skating you want to put out?

I want to learn new tricks. Find new spots. Do the new tricks on the new spots! I want to be more creative with everything. And keep having fun.

How do you feel about being labeled a trendy skater who’s gonna do the Frankenstein ride-on grind, like the one in your AM Scramble Thrasher interview?

Dude, people be hating on the ride-on grinds. I don’t know why. I guess because you don’t have to pop, so it makes it less relevant to people. I get why people would say that I’m a “trendy skater,” or whatever, but I don’t know if I really think much about it. I like skating and I like doing it the way that I like. I try to take inspo from all the generations. Not just the new stuff. I don’t entirely know how to approach that; it’s chill if I’m a trendy skater, I guess.

Those Peace Park ledges are pretty high and you have no problem back tailing those for great lengths.

Yeah, well…

I’ve also seen you boardslide some insane rails…

That’s for sure. There’s not too much popping on those, though. You just have to get your front truck over then you can transfer your weight. It’s kind of cheating.

Snowboarding comes in handy there, I bet…

Oh yeah, for sure.

Getting sponsored by Dime was kind of your big break, right? In my mind, because I’m older than you are, Dime is still a “new” company, but that really isn’t the case anymore.

Yeah, it’s been around a little bit. And that’s exactly what happened. I moved back to Montreal by myself a couple of years ago – I was like 16 or 17. I was skating the skatepark under the bridge, and I met Hugo Balek there and we just started skating there every day. One day he said I should come on the session with [the] Dime [team]. And I went with them and filmed a trick at Peel [Park] and that day they invited me to the warehouse to grab some gear. Hugo and I kept filming little montages, and after a couple months, they asked if I wanted to be on the team and start getting paid. I was SO hyped. I had always wanted to buy all the Dime stuff, but it was too expensive. Getting to go to the warehouse to pick stuff out, to a few months later getting paid by them was the craziest shit.

When did you first learn about Dime as a skater?

I think it was The Dime Video on Thrasher. The one with Alexis grabbing the fish from the water. My brother and I were, like, lowkey worshiping them. I remember we were tripping together when I told him I was getting on Dime. Having that in Montreal made it so cool to live here. They really put Montreal on the map. That’s pretty cool. That first summer I was on Dime, Hugo did some filming for them, too. I don’t see Hugo as often, but I used to see him every day filming back then. He was just so cool to me from day one.

Where does the Dime magic come from?

Dude, it was the funniest shit. I used to watch the Dime Knowing Mixtape every day like two years before I got on Dime. There was this song – “Sensualité” by Axelle Red – that my mom used to play all the time. I was so hyped to hear it in that Dime video. From that moment on, they were the shit to me. It was always jokes and not taking themselves too seriously.

What are your other sponsors?

Vans and Baker.

That’s a potent mix: Vans, Baker, and Dime. What’re the plans with them this year?

With Vans, it’s been so good. You wear the shoes, keep on skating and being you, basically. Wear their shoes and product and that’s what they want. It’s the best shit. Baker, too. They support me and want me to be in their videos. You couldn’t ask for anything better.

What about outside of skating?

I was making jewelry for a while, but I stopped because I don’t have space in my apartment for it anymore. I’m getting a studio soon, and I’m gonna try to have all that shit over there.

How’d the interest with jewelry start?

I’ve always liked jewelry, so the process of making it has always interested me. I like to wear jewelry. And I like metal working. I’ve always fucked with the action of melting metal. It’s just satisfying – forging shit, you know?

So I’d see videos of making it: I looked into the gear and wax-working stuff, and realized it wasn’t that expensive, so I bought the gear and started doing it in my apartment. At first, I was interested in grills – molding teeth to make jewelry. I made a pair with wax as a mold and I went to a place to cast the metal, but it only kind of worked out. It wasn’t fitting in the gums properly. I kept making the same mistakes, so I looked into classes and went to jewelry school in Montreal for a couple of months. I went on a trip and blew it. They basically kicked me out. It was three days a week of class, I missed a couple classes and they called me to say it wouldn’t work out. They did teach me some basic knowledge that I wanted, though.

What would you like to make?

I really want to start making different things – mini earrings and stuff. Not even just that. Shoelace charms, or you know those little things you put in dreadlocks, like little metal beads for dreadlocks? I don’t just want to make classic jewelry, because using the waxwork and casting in metal, you can really design all sorts of stuff. Once I get my studio, I’m gonna get a drum set and have a jewelry workstation. I’m also starting this thing – Dumbfounded – with my friends. We’re making clothes and everything. During the winter time, I’ll work on my computer making shit on Illustrator, and I want a studio to be able to work somewhere.

You’re designing stuff other than jewelry?

Yeah. I’m making clothes, basically. Funny accessories. You know the wooden religious bracelets? I was making one of them, but with memes in them instead of religious photos. We’ll see how that stands out. Stuff like that, that’s not too serious.

Does living in Montreal play a part in a range of interests?

I know a bunch of cities where the skate scene is only skating. That’s so different from here. We all skate, but we also kick it and all have mutual friends that do other things. It’s really diverse. There’s a lot of shit going on and you can get your head away from skating for a little. That’s good in the winter, too. You have to have other hobbies or plans so you don’t get bored and burnt.

Would you consider leaving?

Montreal? Not forever, that’s for sure. I’m not trying to leave. Everything is here. My family, my friends. I’d leave for a few months, sure.

What’s next and any last words?

For now, I want to film as much as I can with anyone. I want to improve. I feel really good where I’m at in Montreal and that makes it harder to travel because I feel like I’ll miss people here. I want to improve with that, so I can leave more easily and go film with people who support me, so I can support them back. Film more. Skate a bit more, really. And shout out to the whole Pagaille squad and Dumbfounded and my family!


  1. Man said he’s been filming with his friends for a project *that’s not out yet* for two years plus he has a few things he’s happy with in the Baker video

    Go back to English class

  2. It’s wild to hear of a skater being put on and paid without having filmed a full part. Good for him. His social media game must be strong. The game has changed big time.

  3. i kinda feel about dudes getting sponsored off social media ghe way i felt about 1:40 long rap songs becoming the norm. weird at first but after a couple years i just realized it was the new normal and it makes sense. dudes saving up footy for 3 years seems so crazy now.

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